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DSWD chief orders ‘Angels in Red Vests’ to conduct grief counselling for bereaved families in Maco, Davao de Oro

Angels in Red Vests
DSWD chief visits ‘ground zero’ in Maco, Davao de Oro : Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Rex Gatchalian visited ‘ground zero’ or the landslide site in Barangay Masara in Maco, Davao de Oro on Sunday (February 11) where the DSWD chief personally witnessed the ongoing rescue operations by teams from the uniformed services, Red Cross, and the local government unit of Maco.

Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Rex Gatchalian has directed social workers who are aptly called “Angels in Red Vests” to continue consoling and assisting that families of the survivors in the February 6 landslide in Maco, Davao de Oro.

Special attention was given by social workers to the 3-year-old girl who was miraculously rescued after being buried in mud for two days. The Angels in Red Vests are currently monitoring the condition of the child who is currently being treated at the Davao Regional Medical Center (DRMC) in Tagum City.

Secretary Gatchalian also directed DSWD Field Office 11 (Davao Region) Regional Director Venassa Goc-Ong to deploy all Angels in Red Vests to do grief counselling to the families who lost their loved ones and those whose loved ones are declared missing.

Angels in Red Vests

The latest report by the Davao de Oro provincial government indicated that 47 individuals have been confirmed dead due to the landslide while 63 are still missing.

On Sunday (February 11), the DSWD chief flew to Davao Region on orders from President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. to check on the condition of the Maco landslide survivors, condole with the bereaved families and provide them with all forms of assistance.

In an interview with local reporters, Secretary Gatchalian assured all those affected by the landslide as well as the flooding brought about by the shear line and low pressure area (LPA) will be given all the necessary assistance from the DSWD and other government agencies.

“We’ll keep on supplying the victims as they need it. Pero we’re already shifting sa ibang lugar for the Emergency Cash Transfer. Katulad sa Davao Del Norte, cash ang binibigay natin kasi alam natin na nag-uwian na yung mga ibang evacuees. Importante naman na ma-kompuni nila yung kanilang mga tahanan,” the DSWD chief told the media.

Secretary Gatchalian said the DSWD is continuously consulting and coordinating with the local government units(LGUs) since the local executives can determine the barangays most affected by disasters.

Angels in Red Vests

“When you say kasi apektado, meron yung mga nasira ang bahay partially and totally. Meron ring hindi man nasira yung kanilang mga tahanan but dahil sa protracted na pag-ulan, naantala yung kanilang mga hanapbuhay. Katulad nong sa Davao Oriental, yung mga mangingisda ilang linggo ng hindi nakaka-palaot. Meron rin yung mga sakahan na nasira,” the DSWD Secretary explained.

“So the financial assistance will be extended not only those na may nasirang mga tahanan, kundi yung livelihood nila o yung mga hanapbuhay nila ay naapektuhan one way or another,” Secretary Gatchalian said.

The DSWD chief visited the survivors at the DRMC in Tagum City and checked on the conditions of the evacuees in the various evacuation centers in Davao Region.

Secretary Gatchalian went around a number of evacuation centers to check on the compliance to the standards set for camp management.

The DSWD chief said he was informed that three to four social workers have been deployed to all the evacuation centers in Maco town where they conduct psycho-social intervention for the mental health of all those affected by calamities and disaster.

Later in the afternoon, Secretary Gatchalian went to the funeral of those who died in the landslide to personally offer his heartfelt condolences to the grieving families and hand over the cash assistance from the DSWD.

The DSWD Secretary was accompanied by Undersecretary for Disaster Response and Management Group (DRMG) Diana Rose Cajipe, Field Office-11 Regional Director Goc-ong, and Davao de Oro Governor Dorothy Montejo.

The Maco Municipal Disaster and Risk Reduction Management Office (MDRRMO) said at least 32 persons were injured due to the landslide.

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